Love: the chemical reaction?

Love: the chemical reaction?

Speaking of “love”, Melanie notes that National Geographic’s cover story for February is on Love, focusing on the biochemical, anthropological, and evolutionary processes involved. What a recipe for romance! It is interesting to read this article in light of Pope Benedict’s new encyclical, especially to see contrasting worldviews, but also to ponder how God manifest love to us both spiritually and materially.

The science the article investigates is fascinating. Evidently when staring at pictures of one’s beloved in the first stages of passionate romance dopamine levels rise; the seratonin levels of a person in the throes of infatuation are comparable to those of a person with OCD; and high levels of oxytocin appear to be linked to the deep bonds of long-term relationships as well as the parent-child bond.

But the troubling a priori assumption of the article seems to be that the mysterious range of phenomena we lump together as “love” can be traced solely to a physiological, chemical, or psychological cause. In short, to something purely material with no spiritual element at all.

One scientist in the article talks about a photo of a newly married couple and the husband’s evident unbounded joy, and says his joy is because he has won the opportunity to “pass along his DNA.” Woohoo. I bet she’s a real barrel of laughs on St. Valentine’s Day.

Where is true love found?

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